The Best Sunscreens of 2022

EltaMD’s UV Sport Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen is effective and lightweight enough to use every day.

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The Best Everyday Sunscreens

While some people only associate sunscreen with summer trips to the beach, experts are adamant that it should be part of a year-round skincare routine. We’re exposed to sun radiation every day regardless of season, occasion, and setting, and that can cause skin cancer and premature skin aging. 

Our top sunscreen pick, EltaMD's UV Sport Broad Spectrum SPF 50, is appropriate for all skin types. The lightweight, lotion-like texture is easy to absorb and doesn't leave that dreaded white cast. Sports and fitness enthusiasts also love that it’s water and sweat-resistant for up to 80 minutes. It won't sting if it drips into your eyes, so you can feel confident lathering  up before your big biking trip. The best part? You don't need to buy separate sunscreen for your face and body, as EltaMD’s sunscreen can be applied to both.

EltaMD’s formula has universal appeal, but if you are looking for a spray, an organic product, or something made for acne-prone skin, check out more of the best sunscreens to use every day.

Best Overall: EltaMD UV Sport Broad-Spectrum SPF 50

EltaMD UV Sport Broad-Spectrum SPF 50

Amazon

Why We Love It: It’s a water-resistant, full-body, and broad spectrum sunscreen suitable for all skin types.

What to Consider: Its active ingredients include the chemicals octinoxate and octisalate.

There is a good reason why this sunscreen has achieved best-selling status. While many similar products get a bad rap for leaving that dreaded white cast on the skin, this one will have you pleasantly surprised. Thanks to its formula that blends zinc oxide with octinoxate and octisalate, EltaMD’s creamy sunscreen will melt in your skin without leaving any traces of greasy or white residue. It also contains vitamin E, which helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles. This sunscreen is paraben-free and has the Skin Cancer Foundation stamp of approval for everyday use. What's more, it won't drip in your eyes if you use it on your face. In fact, you should apply it all over your face and body because its formula is fragrance-free, non-oil, non-comedogenic, and won't clog your pores. 

Because EltaMD's sunscreen was developed with sports enthusiasts in mind, the company has ensured that it is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. So feel free to go outside, run, sweat, or even jump in the pool. The sunscreen comes in two sizes: 3 ounces, a perfect fit for traveling with a carry-on only, and 7 ounces.

 SPF: 50 | Size: 3 ounces and 7 ounces

Best Spray: Supergoop Play 100% Mineral Body Mist SPF 30 with Marigold Extract

Supergoop! PLAY 100% Mineral Body Mist SPF 30 with Marigold Extract

Why We Love It: It's water-resistant and free of chemicals often associated with aerosol sunscreen sprays.  

What to Consider: It might leave white residue on some skin tones.

Aerosol spray sunscreens are usually not the most environmentally — or human — friendly option because they contain toxic chemical propellants, but this one is an exception. Thanks to the air-powered valve, this sunscreen doesn't emit harmful gases and is more convenient to apply. What do we mean by that? You don't have to keep the bottle upright for the spray to work; you can use the sunscreen even if you hold the bottle upside down.

But there's much more to love about this spray sunscreen other than the easy application. While zinc oxide is the leading active ingredient, its formula also features nourishing antioxidants such as calendula extract, known for its soothing qualities that prevent hyperpigmentation and fight signs of aging. Safflower oil, lemon mint, and watercress extracts deliver a healthy dose of vitamins that protect your skin and hair from environmental pollution. 

SPF: 30 | Size: 6 ounces

Best for Face: Doctor Babor Protect RX Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30

Doctor Babor Protect RX Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30

Why We Love It: It hydrates the skin and is easily absorbed.
What to Consider: It’s not the most budget-friendly option.

This German-made sunscreen is a multitasking wonder that protects the skin not only from the sun's harmful rays but also from dehydration and environmental stress. Its active ingredient is zinc oxide, which offers protection against UV radiation and sunburn. The thoughtful formula also contains winter cherry extract and beta-carotene that help combat damage from blue light, air pollution, cigarette smoke, and dramatic temperature changes, all of which may lead to signs of premature aging. A blend of moisturizing agents delivers a boost of hydration — essential when exposing your skin to the sun for longer periods.

But even with a formula so rich in good ingredients, Doctor Babo's mineral sunscreen has a lightweight texture that is immediately absorbed with no white residue left behind and an SPF of 30. 

 SPF: 30 | Size: 1 ounce

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Best Mineral: Native Unscented Mineral Sunscreen

Native Unscented Mineral Sunscreen

Why We Love It: The clean, unscented formula is suitable for sensitive skin.
What to Consider: Some buyers find it difficult to blend in.

Native's unscented mineral sunscreen has a lightweight, cream-like texture that is easily absorbed and leaves the skin soft without that oily look or white cast —  even when you apply it over body hair. While many "unscented" skincare products still often have an unpleasant aroma, this one truly lives up to its name. You’ll most likely forget you have it on pretty quickly.

It is formulated with non-nano zinc oxide that delivers broad spectrum protection and is perfect for daily use on the face and body. A blend of healthy oils (avocado, sunflower, and coconut) provides an extra dose of hydration, while vitamin E protects your skin from environmental pollution. If fragrance — or sensitive skin — is not a concern, then you can also purchase this sunscreen in a fresh pineapple and coconut scent.

 SPF: 30 | Size: 5 ounces

Best Organic: Salt & Stone Natural Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50

Salt & Stone Natural Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50

Why We Love It: It has an all-natural and fragrance-free formula and a high SPF.
What to Consider: It has a thicker, oilier texture than other sunscreens on our list.

Organic sunscreen is not only good for you, but it's also ocean and reef-friendly. So if clean ingredients, sustainability, and recyclable packaging are at the top of your wish list, then you've found the one. 

Salt & Stone's mineral sunscreen offers a high SPF 50 thanks to its active ingredient, non-nano zinc oxide. A blend of avocado, rosehip oil, and vitamin D also fight skin damage from free radicals, reduce visible signs of aging, and hydrate your skin.

Because of this oil-rich formula, this sunscreen has a thicker consistency, but as soon as you apply it, it melts into your skin and immediately hydrates and softens it. It is water- and sweat-resistant, so if you'd like to go for a run in the park, it has you covered. 

 SPF: 50 | Size: 3 ounces

Best for Melanin-rich Skin Tones: Absolute Joi Tinted Moisturizer With SPF 40

Absolute Joi by Dr. Anne Tinted Moisturizer With SPF 40

Why We Love It: It helps treat dark spots and helps fight signs of aging.
What to Consider: It’s available in two tints.

Created by physician-researcher-turned-beauty founder Dr. Anne Beal, Absolute Joi's products are packed with soothing botanicals and active ingredients that promote a radiant and dewy complexion while working against dark spots, fine lines, and wrinkles. 

The company's SPF 40 mineral sunscreen doubles as a moisturizer and combines zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to deliver full-spectrum protection. It has a non-greasy cream texture available in two tint shades that blend seamlessly into darker skin tones. A long list of nutrient-rich ingredients such as vitamin C, oats, antimicrobial and antioxidant chamomile extract, and apple extract work to hydrate, soothe, and help you maintain a youthful complexion. Apply it like a moisturizer after cleansing and toning.

 SPF: 40 | Size: 1.7 ounces

Related: The Best Sunglasses for Every Trip

Best for Kids: Babo Botanicals Baby Skin Mineral Sunscreen

Babo Botanicals Baby Skin Mineral Sunscreen

Babo Botanicals

Why We Love It: It is unscented, hypoallergenic, and provides a high broad spectrum SPF.
What to Consider: It might leave a white cast.

Children's skin is more prone to react to allergens and irritants. Babo Botanicals's sunscreen is packed with plant-based ingredients such as soothing calendula and chamomile, hydrating shea butter, watercress and sunflower oil that are gentle on the skin and hypoallergenic. It is also formulated without parabens, dyes, nuts (including shea), and many other common allergens.

The sheer, lightweight, all-mineral, and non-nano zinc oxide formula delivers broad spectrum protection and has SPF 50. The creamy texture is easy to apply and spread without leaving a white cast. It is waterproof for 80 minutes, so you can pack this sunscreen in the family's beach bag or before heading to the playground. 

 SPF: 50 | Size: 3 ounces

Best for Working Out: Koa Water-resistant Broad Spectrum SPF 45 Mineral Sunscreen

Koa Water-Resistant Broad Spectrum SPF 45 Mineral Sunscreen

Why We Love It: The hydrating formula dries down quickly without leaving a greasy, white residue.

What to Consider: It’s only water-resistant for 45 minutes.

Formulated in Hawaii, this sunscreen relies on traditional Polynesian ingredients such as kukui nut and giant Pacific seaweed to deliver a health-conscious dose of nutrients to your skincare routine. vitamin B and wild chamomile extract soothe and help tighten pores and minimize the appearance of fine lines. Of course, it's all about sun protection, and Koa's sunscreen doesn't disappoint in that category either. It is formulated with reef-safe zinc oxide that delivers the highest amount of UVA protection available on the market.

The non-stick, cream-like texture melts in the skin without any traces of greasy residue or white cast. Feel free to apply it before your daily run or a swimming or yoga session, as it's also water-resistant. The sunscreen is available in two options, tinted and sheer.

 SPF: 45 | Size: 1.7 ounces

Best for Acne-prone Skin: Hero Cosmetics Force Shield Superlight Sunscreen SPF 30

Hero Cosmetics Force Shield Superlight Sunscreen SPF 30

Why We Love It: It has a sheer green tint to blur redness.

What to Consider: It is only available in small sizes for the face.

Treating breakout and blemish-prone skin starts with finding the right skincare products, and this sunscreen certainly deserves a spot in your beauty drawer. What makes it perfect for everyday use is the airy, ultralight texture that is absorbed instantaneously without leaving oily residue or clogging pores — one of the main culprits for acne. 

The non-nano zinc oxide formula ensures UVA and UVB protection while infusing your skin with antioxidants and extremolytes that help shield it from environmental stress. Use this sunscreen as a primer and when you need a boost of hydration. Those suffering from redness will love that this sunscreen evens the skin tone, doesn't leave a white, chalky cast, and is easy to wash out in the shower.

 SPF: 30 | Size: 3 ounces

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Best for Natural: Raw Elements Certified Natural Sunscreen

Certified Natural Sunscreen

Raw Elements

Why We Love It: It has a perfect EWG safety rating and can be used on both your face and body.

What to Consider: It has a thick consistency.

Raw Elements formulates its products with Mother Nature and human health in mind. The company was founded by a former ocean lifeguard who wanted to create a more environmentally friendly and safe alternative to toxic sunscreens that damage marine systems while still providing maximum protection for people who spend a lot of time in the sun.

That's how Raw Elements's Certified Natural Sunscreen was born. The best thing about it is that its natural formula is packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals working for the overall health of your skin. Its active ingredients include non-nano zinc oxide, sunflower oil, cocoa butter, and vitamin E that protect, hydrate, and soothe. It’s also incredibly water-resistant (for up to 80 minutes), so it's perfect as your go-to beach sunscreen.

SPF: 30 | Size: 3 ounces

Tips for Buying Sunscreen


Look for broad spectrum coverage

Sunscreen that delivers broad spectrum SPF protects you against UVA and UVB radiation. "UVA rays stay stable all year round and can speed up the aging process. UVB rays cause sunburns, so it is important to protect against both," says Dr. Jeannette Graf, Board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Look out for these ingredients

In general, there are two types of sun-filtering ingredients in sunscreen — mineral and chemical (certain sunscreens have a blend of both). "Mineral sunscreens containing zinc oxide are the most preferable and can be applied around the eye area without causing burning," explains Dr. Graf. "While chemical sunscreens work to absorb the UV, mineral (or physical) sunscreens block the sun's UV rays from hitting the skin." She noted that mineral sunscreens tend to be more gentle and easier on the skin. Also look out for allergens and irritants (such as fragrance, for example) if you have sensitive skin, and opt for oil-free sunscreen if your skin is prone to acne.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What SPF should you use?

    SPF, or sun protection factor, measures "how much solar energy is required to produce sunburn on protected skin relative to the amount of solar energy required to produce sunburn on unprotected skin," according to the FDA. Basically, the higher the SPF, the better protection your skin has. While Dr. Graf recommends using SPF 50 and above, she also reminds that applying once won't cut it. Any time you are in direct sunlight for extended periods, it is important to reapply your sunscreen every couple of hours.

  • When does sunscreen expire?

    Always refer to the sunscreen label for its specific expiration date. The FDA regulates sunscreen, and it requires sunscreen products to maintain their level of protection for at least three years. Sunscreens made in other parts of the world may have less longevity. 


    "If you're using a European or Korean product, they may expire sooner, and on average — to be conservative — I'd say in those cases it's best to replace 12 months after opening," says Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson, a board-certified dermatologist, president and co-founder of Modern Dermatology, and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine.

  • How long does sunscreen last after applying?

    Incorporate sunscreen into your daily skincare routine, and always apply it after your moisturizer. Then reapply throughout the day. You should reapply every two hours and after swimming or sweating, according to Dr. Robinson.

  • Can I still tan with sunscreen?

    The short answer to this question is yes. "No sunscreen, even applied perfectly, can protect you from every single UV ray, especially over a long period of time in the sun coupled with sweating and swimming," explains Dr. Robinson. She recommends supplementing sunscreen with SPF clothing and hats.

Why Trust Travel+Leisure

T+ L writers like Dobrina Zhekova use their personal experience, customer recommendations, and professional expertise to select the best products on the market. For this article, she spoke to two dermatologists and researched dozens of sunscreens to find the industry’s best options for every type of shopper. 

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